Robert Fioretti (born March 8, 1953) is an American politician who was an alderman in Chicago's city council, representing Chicago's 2nd Ward. At the time, the 2nd Ward included portions of Bronzeville, East Garfield Park, Illinois Medical District, Little Italy, Loop, Near West Side, Prairie District, South Loop, University Village, Westhaven, and West Loop.
Fioretti also serves as 2nd Ward Democratic Committeeman, which is part of the Cook County Democratic Party. He has served as 2nd Ward Alderman since 2007, and was re-elected in 2011. On September 13, 2014, Alderman Fioretti announced that he would challenge Rahm Emanuel in the 2015 mayoral election. Fioretti finished fourth with 7.39% of the vote. He was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the 5th Senate district.
Fioretti was born and raised in Chicago's Pullman/Roseland neighborhood. He is the son of a Polish-American mother and an Italian immigrant father who moved to Chicago and worked for the Pullman train car company. Fioretti attended St. Anthony's Grammar School and Mendel High School on the South Side of Chicago. He received a Pullman Foundation scholarship to attend the University of Illinois, where he studied political science and served as student body president.
Fioretti earned his law degree from Northern Illinois University College of Law, where he remains a member of the adjunct faculty. He served as president of the NIU National Alumni Association from 2000 to 2004. During his tenure as president, Fioretti oversaw the establishment of a Chicago alumni office, the formation of a quarterly alumni magazine, and the creation of the Barsema Alumni Center on campus. Fioretti also served as president of the NIU College of Law Alumni Counsel.
Fioretti currently makes his home on Chicago’s Near West Side, with his wife, Nicki.
Fioretti is counsel to the law firm of Orum & Roth LLC in Chicago. He dedicates nearly all of his time to his aldermanic duties, yet occasionally practices in the areas of governmental law, administrative law, zoning law, and complex litigation. Fioretti has also practiced law in the public sector, where he served as the Senior Supervising Attorney of the General Litigation Division for the Corporation Counsel of the City of Chicago. In his duration with the Corporation Counsel, Fioretti was involved in over 500 civil-rights cases, and his personal trial experiences have led to over 100 state and federal verdicts and appellate court decisions. Fioretti represented the family of Baby Tamia in the high-profile adoption case that led to changes in Illinois adoption law.
In 2007, Fioretti ran for Alderman of Chicago's 2nd Ward, challenging 14-year incumbent Madeline Haithcock. He secured the most votes in the February primary and forced a run-off with Haithcock. In the run-off, Fioretti defeated Haithcock, by nearly a two-to-one margin. Fioretti took office on May 21, 2007. In 2011, Fioretti was re-elected to a second term. Following that election, Fioretti's colleagues. along with the Mayor, agreed to a re-districting map that left Fioretti with none of his original ward. Fioretti was one of only two Aldermen to so lose their ward. Fioretti subsequently chose to run for election as Mayor.
Since taking office, Fioretti has prioritized education and job creation in his legislative agenda. Fioretti has attempted to improve the Chicago Public School system, working closely with administrators to solve issues both in and out of the classroom. In 2008, Fioretti helped to create "Operation Safe Passage," an initiative designed to protect students on the way to and from school that coordinated the resources of the Chicago Police Department, the CTA, local faith-based institutions, and families. Fioretti supported the expansion of Jones College Prep High School and oversaw Roosevelt University's expansion into Chicago's South Loop. In 2011, Fioretti won the "Defender of Public Education" Award from the Chicago Teachers Union, AFT Local 1 for his efforts at modernizing and sustaining neighborhood schools.
Fioretti has facilitated the creation and preservation of jobs in Chicago. He supported the relocation of the United Airlines headquarters, bringing approximately 2,500 jobs from Elk Grove to Chicago. Fioretti also led the effort to renovate and expand the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to keep the world's largest futures and options exchange as an anchor of Chicago's financial district.
Fioretti has also led efforts to combat the problem of "food deserts" on Chicago's West Side by working to bring low-cost food retailers into previously under-served neighborhoods. Pete's Fresh Market, Target, and Costco have agreed to open new locations within the 2nd Ward, providing food retailers and jobs to West Side residents.
For his efforts to improve and expand parks in the 2nd Ward, Fioretti received the 2009 "Legislator of the Year" award from Friends of the Parks, a non-profit, Chicago-based park advocacy group. During his tenure as alderman, Fioretti has budgeted city resources to open several new parks in the 2nd Ward.
However, he alienated parks groups when he voted to allow the Chicago Children's Museum to relocate to Grant Park. That move was later challenged in court and Mayor Daley later withdrew the plan and the museum remained at Navy Pier.
Fioretti served on five committees in Chicago's city council: Environmental Protection & Public Utilities, Health, License & Consumer Protection, Rules & Ethics, and Special Events.